Local teacher taken into custody by ICE after living in US for 3 - KCTV5 News

Local teacher taken into custody by ICE after living in US for 30 years

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(Submitted to KCTV) (Submitted to KCTV)
(Submitted to KCTV) (Submitted to KCTV)

A local educator and father of three is being kept from his family. He has spent the last 30 years in the U.S., but last week he was taken into custody by immigration officials.

On Saturday, his family was asking for your help.

Dozens of the teacher’s friends in Lawrence were writing letters to the immigration judge handling his case, emphasizing his work in the community and his love for his family, pleading for his release.

Syed Jamal has been in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He has three children and lives with his family in Lawrence.

His son said his father came to the U.S. from Bangladesh. "He didn't want us to have a life like his parents had," Taseen Jamal, who is 14 years old, said.

Syed Jamal taught chemistry at several local community colleges, including Park University, Rockhurst, and Kansas City, Kansas Community College.

A lot of the people who wrote letters on Saturday were parents in the Lawrence school district who say Jamal took an interest in the kids' activities. He coached youth sports, did science demonstrations, and even ran for the school board a year ago.

ICE took Jamal into custody in his yard in January as he was getting ready to take his children to school. Taseen Jamal, his mother, and his two sisters watched ICE officials put his father in handcuffs. 

He said he wasn't allowed to hug his father goodbye and that his family doesn't know what will happen next.

"It didn't seem real," he said. "I felt like I'd been shot because I didn't think it was happening."

They just want their father to come home.

“No one should be able to rip a family apart like this, regardless of their position of power,” said he said. “If they still have the audacity to, I don't know how much human they have left in them.”

We also spoke to Syed Jamal's immigration attorney, Jeffrey Bennett, who said Jamal is currently being held in Morgan County, Missouri.

Bennett said that Jamal had overstayed a voluntary departure notice in 2011, but that the government allowed him to stay in the U.S. under supervision. 

"He was granted prosecutorial discretion on an indefinite basis, but that can be taken away at any time and that has happened just recently," he explained.

KCTV5 News has reached out to ICE, but had not heard back at the time of publication.

"We need people like Syed in our community," said Susan Baker Anderson, who organized Saturday's event. "I really think this is one where Syed needs to come home."

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